Commonly found throughout North America, moles typically have velvety fur that can range from silver to black, or brown. Their tails are almost always hairless and covered in scales. Their feet are webbed to make it easy for digging as they spend most of their time underground. They very small eyes and no external ears. Not to be confused with the similar vole, their snouts are pointed and hairless -- a distinct difference from voles, who have furry noses.
Moles mate between February and March, while birth occurs from April into May. Litters will range from 3 to 7 offspring. Moles love to eat insects like grubs, beetles, larvae, earthworms, but will feast on an occasional frog or mouse. They might also indulge on seeds, roots and bulbs if that’s all that is available.
Mole Nuisances & Damage
These beady-eyed creatures are generally very laid back and won’t get in your way too often. The only real problem they cause is making your lawn and garden look disastrous. The tunnels they create are not pretty to look at, and your gardens may be destroyed from their feasting. However, this is mostly due to the fact that they are ridding these areas of harmful insects in the first place.
Tunnels or “runs” are usually a dead giveaway. You’ll see these most often during the spring and fall when soil is softest. There are two different types: feeder and travel tunnels. Feeder tunnels short and crooked, and only about two inches wide. Dead grass will indicate this tunnel. Travel tunnels are long and straight, often following an edge like a driveway or foundation. These will continue on into wooded areas.
Mole hills are small, cone-shaped mounds of dirt that can either be very big or very small. You’ll see these pop up in fall as they are digging to avoid impeding frosts. In the summer, they are digging to feed on earthworms. Moles make very little noise and are rarely seen because of all the time they spend beneath the surface. Crop damage is often not the result of moles, but rather the similar vole, although moles do enjoy roots from time to time.
Types of Moles
There are three main species of moles. The Hairy-tailed mole, the Star- nosed mole, and the Eastern mole.
The Hairy-Tailed Mole
The hairy-tailed mole is 5" to 5 1/2" long and has gray-black to black fur on top with a slightly lighter shade on their belly. A good way to tell them from their cousins is the red-tipped snout.
The Star-Nosed Mole
The star-nosed mole is around the same size as it’s hairy-tailed cousin, but can easily be pulled out of a crowd by its star-like nose. 22 pinky, flesh colored tentacles make up their snout. Its hair is short and coarser than most other species.
The Eastern Mole
The eastern-mole is the most common species in North America and ranges from 3 1/4" to 8 3/4” long. They have a short naked tail and long, hairless snout. Its fur is thick and varies from silver to black or even copper.
Moles In The Yard & The Garden
In general, moles love lawns, orchards, and woods. These areas provide soft, moist soil that allows them to tunnel. Hairy-tailed moles enjoy sandier soils, wet or dry, or even clay soils. Star- nosed moles are often seen near swamps, but don’t mind drier locations if moist soil isn’t an option.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I keep moles away?
If moles really become an issue, trapping is usually most effective. However, it helps to exclude them from your yard. Erecting fences around your gardens that are bent in the shape of an “L” and extend deep into the ground will prevent the moles from getting at your crops. Repellents can also be used, but must be applied on a regular basis. Since moles like moist environments, avoid over watering your lawn and make sure all water drains from your property.
Benefits of Professional Mole Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a mole problem. Finding and treating the moles can be challenging, especially if they are loose in your yard. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the mole nuisance.